Life and Death Under the Pharaohs

Client (Employer): Fernbank Museum of Natural History

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Project Description:

Life and Death Under the Pharaohs was a 13,000 sq. ft. Special Exhibition that broke attendance records in 1999 with 191,000 visitors. I served as Lead Designer and Project Manager on Pharaohs, which was my first major exhibition project after joining the museum.  It would be the first of many exhibitions covering topics of ancient history, archaeology and middle-eastern cultures that we would present at the museum in the coming years.

Pharaohs was an artifact-based exhibition, which meant that everything else–graphics, caseworks, labels, mounts and other display elements–had to be produced. Working closely with Fernbank curatorial staff and partners at the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden, the Netherlands, we developed a content outline that reflected a natural history angle and fit well with our institutional mission.

During the later implementation phase, I oversaw project management including logistics and scheduling, supervision of production/installation staff, budget monitoring, transportation arrangements, departmental coordination and general quality control.  I also handled creative direction including the selection of fonts, colors/textures, photos and illustrations used in the exhibition presentation. Graphic design and desktop publishing work included an extensive range of graphic panels, artifact labels, printed gallery guides and program brochures.

I’m particularly proud of my resourcefulness on this project, which looked like a million bucks but was produced on a comparative shoestring. For instance, we wanted something truly spectacular for the entrance gallery along the lines of an Egyptian temple. I needed a creative and inexpensive solution. With a bit of research, I found a fantastic collection of architectural props from a previous Egyptian-themed exhibition which we were able to acquire for practically nothing. When reconfigured to fit our space and design needs, the props provided a grand and atmospheric backdrop to enhance the experience.